Golf: Brandt Snedeker, Justin Rose battle for top of Tour Championship leaderboard
Atlanta • Brandt Snedeker had one of his best rounds of the year, a 6-under 64 on Saturday that gave him a share of the lead at the Tour Championship.
It could turn out to be a round worth $10 million.
Snedeker, in control of his game despite increasing wind at tree-lined East Lake, made a collection of tough putts and used his short game to pick up a couple of other birdies to wind up atop the leaderboard with Justin Rose, who also played bogey-free for a 68.
Sunday at East Lake is the final day of the FedEx Cup, and it has never been more up for grabs among so many top players.
Rory McIlroy had a 68 his 11th consecutive round in the 60s and was three shots behind. Tiger Woods salvaged an important par after bouncing a shot off a Georgia pine and had a 67 that put him four shots behind.
McIlroy, Woods and Snedeker were among the top five seeds coming into the Tour Championship, meaning they only have to win Sunday to claim the FedEx Cup title and its $10 million bonus, the richest prize in golf.
"It's going to be one of the most exciting Sundays of the year," McIlroy said.
They won't be the only players with a chance to win at least one trophy the Tour Championship on Sunday. Rose will be in the final group with Snedeker, and while it's unlikely he can win the FedEx Cup, the Englishman surely would settle for his second win of the year against a strong field.
Snedeker and Rose were at 8-under 202.
Ryan Moore spoiled his round with a bogey on the 17th and still had a 65, putting him alone in third at 6-under 204.
Jim Furyk, the 36-hole leader, was tied for the lead until he pulled his tee shot into the water on the 17th, hit the next tee shot into the gallery, his fourth shot into a bunker and made triple bogey that sent him tumbling down to a 72. He was still in the mix at 205, along with McIlroy and Masters champion Bubba Watson, who had a double bogey on the 16th hole and shot 70.
Typical of the FedEx Cup playoffs, there was plenty of star power in contention, with 11 of the top 14 players on the leaderboard headed to the Ryder Cup next week.
Third-ranked Stacy Lewis shot a 7-under 65 on Saturday to take a two-stroke lead in the Navistar LPGA Classic in Prattville, Ala., while second-round leader Lexi Thompson fell five shots behind.
Lewis, a two-time winner this season, had a 15-under 201 total on The Senator course at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail's Capitol Hill complex. She birdied four of the first five holes in her bogey-free round.
The 17-year-old Thompson had a 74 to drop into a tie for sixth at 10 under. Thompson won the event last year at 16 to become the youngest champion in LPGA Tour history, a mark broken last month by 15-year-old amateur Lydia Ko in the Canadian Women's Open.
Angela Stanford was second after a 68. Lizette Salas with third at 12 under after a 70, and Haeji Kang and Mi Jung Hur followed at 11 under. Kang shot a 67, and Hur had a 72. Sarah Jane Smith and Hee Young Park joined Thompson at 10 under. Smith had a 68, and Park shot 72.
Lewis is trying to complete an Alabama sweep after beating Thompson by a stroke in the Mobile Bay LPA Classic in late April.
Brandt Snedeker -8
Justin Rose -8
Ryan Moore -6
Rory McIlroy -5
Tiger Woods -4